CA OKs Anthem Rate Hike After Controversy

LOS ANGELES (KCBS) _ State regulators have approved rate hikes on individual Anthem Blue Cross health insurance policies, this after public outrage and government scrutiny halted a larger increase.

Anthem Blue Cross individual policy holders will see an average increase of 13.4 percent and Blue Shield customers will see an average hike of 18.5 percent.

Judy Dugan with the advocacy group Consumer Watch said California needs better oversight of health insurance companies.

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“We have very strong oversight of property and casualty companies like auto insurers,” she said. “We could do something similar with health insurance and we should. Most of the states do it.”

Anthem Blue Cross, the state’s largest for-profit insurer, proposed rate increases earlier this year of up to 39 percent for customers.

But after public outrage, regulators found accounting errors in that proposal.  Dugan said that episode is evidence enough that legislation is necessary.

“Public outrage can only sustain itself for so long. It shouldn’t be up to people having to scream and yell in the streets practically to get what’s right,” said Dugan.

In a statement, Anthem Blue Cross said it is pleased the current rate filings have been approved and that it looks forward to continuing to serve its California customers.


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